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Friday, September 28, 2018


Sunny deck atop award-winning Ocean Beach Brewery & Brewpub, San Diego.  Image courtesy: SanDiegoVille.

By Thomas Shess
Editor, Pillar to Post Daily Online Magazine

The first time I heard the term Sunny Jim* in reference to a synonym/nickname for San Diego came from my Uncle Ray Shess.  Back in the day, this U.S. Marine WW2 vet was a bartender in Mission Beach.  I was eight and remember sitting at his Ventura Street bar pumping nickels into the pistachio vending machine when I asked what who was Sunny Jim?  He explained San Diego translated from Spanish to English is St. James.  And, Jim is a diminutive of James.  And, it’s sunny more times than not in San Diego, especially in the perfect weather month of September.  When asked where he first heard Sunny Jim he simply said: “I made it up, now eat your pistachios and stop asking so many questions.”  

Yes, September is a perfect month for more reasons than weather.  For one, all the rug rats are back in school and those zany Zonies, who drive on the sidewalks have gone home leaving room at the bar for the locals.  And, summer really doesn’t begin here until August and runs through the end of October. So, even though it’s September, you really haven’t missed one ray of sunshine.

Here’s a weekend craft beer hurrah, a three-stop primer for sudsy fun in Sunny Jim at the end of glorious September Savor Day weekend:

Friday, September 28:
Beerfest at Petco Park in San Diego is a lot of fun. Tons of beer lovers show up, tons of San Diego beer goes down, and it’s a very person to person way to dust off your face to face conversation skills.  Best of all, you cap the night with a baseball game even if the Padres haven’t had a winning season since Al Gore invented beer.

Here’s the low-down on San Diego Padres Beerfest at Petco Park. You get to sample beers from 18 different breweries. Beer samples are $5 for 12 ounces. Beerfest beer tasting commences at 4:30pm and continues until just before the first pitch.

Admission is free with a ticket to Friday’s game vs the returning Diamondbacks.

Included among past participating breweries: Four Peaks Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing Company, Pacifico, Stone Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Modern Times Beer, San Diego Brewing Company, Belching Beaver Brewery, Mike Hess Brewing, Alesmith Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing Company

Idea for Lynx or Uber.  They should team up with the Padres and offer free ride home by showing your Petco Park ticket stub.  Maybe a discount?  Just a thought.

Ocean Beach Brewery winner 2018 GABF Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year  (national award).

Saturday, September 29:
Everybody loves a winner.  Today this column modestly suggests you have a newly minted gold medal brew at one of the best craft beer establishments in the country.  Earlier in the week in Denver at the annual Great American Beer Fest, San Diego brewers brought home more winning medals than a bag of Betty Crocker flour.  For a complete list click here.

One of the local gold medal winners was Ocean Beach Brewery.   The competition was keen.  More than 4,000 beers were entered into the GABF event.  OB Brewery won gold for its primo pale ale called “B. Right On.”

And, best of all, Ocean Beach Brewery stole the show, winning its aforementioned gold medal and for taking home the coveted Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year award.

Good enough reasons to make it as our Saturday place to be.

Sunday, September 30:
Just like a great craft beer, San Diego is hailed for its water (aka beaches).  No, you can’t drink sea water but you can imbibe at one of San Diego’s newest and popular bayside brewery/brewpubs.   The deck at Eppig Brewery’s new Point Loma establishment is hip, groovy and awesome (to adjective all generations).

Plus, here’s the good part.  Eppig Brewery, which is home-based at its original location in North Park also won a gold medal at last week’s national beer fest. Eppig won with its Session beer: Natural Bridge: Vienna Lager.

Below is a list of San Diego winners at the 
GABF for 2018:

Gold Medalists
English-style summer ale: Liquid AC: Karl Strauss (above).
Session IPA: The Coachman: Societe
Session beer: Natural Bridge: Vienna Lager: Eppig Brewing
Rye beer: Rye Dawn: Breakwater Brewing
Pale ale: B. Right On: OB Brewery**

Barrel-aged sour: Duck, Duck, Gooze: Lost Abbey
Session beer: Noble Miner: Burgeon Beer Co.
Oatmeal stout: Oats: Pizza Port Solana Beach
Dopplebock: Delaminator Doppelbock: Rip Current Beer
Wood and barrel-aged beer: Redrum: Duck Foot
Brown ale: Piloncillo Brown Ale: Groundswell Brewing

Bohemian-style pilsner: Bird Park: North Park Beer Co.
Chocolate beer: Chocolate Macadamia Nut Stout: Kilowatt Beer
Classic Irish-style dry stout: Know Ego: Groundswell Brewing
Old ale or strong ale: Rail Gun Wee Heavy: BNS Brewing & Distilling. 
Historical beer: Zungen Brecher: Home Brewing Co.

** OB Brewery won the Small Brewpub of the Year award.


(West Coaster is published by Ray Shess’s grand nephew).

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